Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, said Sunday that he hoped World Health Organization (WHO) investigators would be allowed into the U.S. to investigate the origins of COVID-19, just as they have in Wuhan, China.
Tiankai appeared on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” and discussed the investigation into the origins of the virus in Wuhan and China’s previous reluctance to allow researchers to go in and to share data on the virus. (RELATED: Did Coronavirus Come From A Lab? Ten Key Takeaways From A Shocking New Report)
“Would you categorically say that from all China’s investigations the coronavirus emerged from a wet market in Wuhan and not from the Wuhan Virology Institute lab?” host Fareed Zakaria asked Tiankai.
“When people make accusations, they have to prove these accusations. And to say these things at a time when we’re still faced with a pandemic is against the spirit of humanitarianism,” Tiankai responded. “Besides, now, an expert group from WHO is working in Wuhan with their Chinese counterparts. They’re working very hard. They’re trying to look at all the facts, and we are very supportive to their work.”
A team of scientists from the WHO began an international mission to China in January to conduct an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. The WHO has previously been criticized by the U.S. government for working with China to cover up the extent of the virus in the early days of the pandemic and for praising China’s “transparency” in handling the virus.
“Also, there have been a number of media reports about earlier cases in other places in the world. So there is certainly a need for more tracing to be done all over the world in order to really trace down the origin of the virus so the human race could be better prepared when we are faced with another virus again,” Tiankai continued. “So please do not politicize the whole issue. Please let the scientists do their professional job.”
China has previously tried to place blame for the virus on other countries. Last year it accused Italy of being the original source of the pandemic. One Chinese politician even blamed the U.S. Army for introducing the virus into Wuhan.
“And will scientists be allowed full access to China from the WHO?” Zakaria asked.
“They’re already in Wuhan. They have been in Wuhan for quite a few days. My question is will they be allowed to come here to do the same thing?” Tiankai responded, calling for the U.S. to also be investigated for being the origin of the virus.